As it stands, Inception has earned almost 500 million dollars at the box-office, an 87% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and, although this is conjecture, a few private islands for director Christopher Nolan. I expect soon it'll become very unpopular to like Inception, so I'll ride the wave of optimism until it ends. I loved Inception, and as I was watching, struggling to cling on to that narrative thread woven into the fabric of Nolan's confusing but engrossing dreamscape, I couldn't help but wonder, what would an Inception videogame be like?
Read on, as I foolishly attempt to translate Nolan's spellbinding film into a pitch for a videogame. Beware, spoilers ahoy!
Chapter 1: Saito's Fortress
We'd begin at... the beginning. Cobb's first (or was it?) attempt at stealing secrets from Saito. In order for this to work in the parameters of a videogame, we'd shuffle things around here, with Cobb actually infiltrating the palatial fortress, ducking in and out of the shadows, dropping guards with a hissing bullet from his silenced pistol. Think Splinter Cell, just with Di Caprio, not Ironside.
You reach the vault, only for the twisted memory of your deceased wife, Mal, to sabotage your plans. Mal, throughout Inception: The Game, would be like the classic Capcom boss who keeps turning up for a fight. You'd win the duel, but Mal then takes the kid from Third Rock From The Sun hostage, and you're forced into surrendering. Cue the whole 'dream-world collapsing' sequence, where you must escape from the crumbling fortress as the sea seemingly claims it as its own.
Chapter 2: The Architect
A change of pace, and protagonist, as we switch perspectives to Juno - I mean Ariadne. With Cobb now as your instructor, you must traverse a constantly shifting landscape of winding Escher-like stairways and an entire city that folds on top of itself. For the purposes of the game, you'd be forced to complete routes before they crumble into mere memories behind you, perhaps as a result of Mal's shadow drawing ever closer.
This Chapter would be more reminiscent of Prince of Persia, with a dollop of Little Big Planet, for good measure. Racing down stairways that boggle the mind, navigating an upside-down city, all while summoning bits and pieces of architecture to fill gaps and block off Cobb's subconscious. Saito has since contracted you to perform one last mission, and Ariadne was the last piece of the puzzle.
Chapter 3: Heavy Rain
A cutscene fills us in on the story. We're to invade the mind of an industrialist's son, Fischer, in order to implant an "idea". We're back in control of Cobb, but with the whole team bundled in the car, it could be a co-op mission, as Cobb and co lean out of the swerving, sweeping vehicle and fire shots at Fischer's militarized subconscious. Mal makes an appearance, although in the form of a train.
Saito is then shot, and the team must hole up in an abandoned warehouse. The rest of the mission would be a siege-type sequence, as you must stop the waves of armed subconscious from entering and protect Saito from death. This Chapter could be almost Mass Effectian, as you switch from interrogating Fischer to popping off shots at soldiers.
Chapter 4: Room Service
Another change of perspective, as Gordon-Levitt's Arthur takes the reins. Forget all the story-stuff for this particular sequence, we'd skip straight to the zero-G gunfights, as Arthur drifts down a now-vertical corridor, firing at floating soldiers. You could duck in and out of cover in doorways, clinging on for dear life as the level continually shifts. One moment, you're facing down, firing at a soldier, the next he's plummeting to your level and your clutching onto a door-handle.
It'd be like Gears of Gravity, as you roam from room to room in order to collect all of your comrades and perform the "kick" necessary to jolt them into the next dreamworld.
Chapter 5: Snow Patrol
Come on, fans of Call of Duty must have got huge vibes from this particular sequence in Inception. Infiltrating a heavily guarded facility nestled in the arms of a snowy mountain, armed with silenced rifles and garbed in white-camouflage? Hell, I was half-expect Captain Price's magnificent mustache to appear from around a pine tree.
Infiltrating the facility would first require rappelling up a cliff-face, as tremors from the previous dreamworld shake the landscape. Once up, you'd have to avoid or remove enemy patrols, including a roaming tank, before finally storming the facility and holing up inside as Fischer desperately tries to recall the code for his father's vault.
Chapter 6: Malignant
The climactic Chapter would be set in Cobb's limbo, a world of crumbling cities and thundering storms overhead. In true videogame fashion, a colossal projection of Mal haunts the sky, and Cobb, Ariadne and Fischer must reach Cobb's safe-house in order to confront Mal, once and for all. Hostile subconscious, crumbling landscapes, it's the culmination of all your efforts distilled into one level.
Cobb and Male face off for the last time, he mortally wounded, she shot by Ariadne. Cobb would return to Saito's fortress, rebuilt in limbo, where the businessman has aged 50 years. A final test would be performed to prove he was worthy. Cue credits.
The Final Chapter
Whether or not we see a sequel to Inception - I hope we don't, but the amount of money it's raking in suggests it might - I'd love to play a game tie-in, if not for the epic story, but for the great action-scenes, some of which seem ripped from the best moments in Call of Duty.
The problem, however, is that Inception is not actually a film concerned with action or spectacle. It's simply a feature of the dreamworld that makes the film marketable. The film is actually about dreams and ideas, how belief in something, no matter how naive or foolish, can bring life to it. Videogames have yet to reach this cerebral level, and like the monkeys in Space: 2001, and more concerned with bashing heads in. A man can dream, however.